Profoto and Austin Mann's New Tutorials For Phone Photography

Profoto and Austin Mann's New Tutorials For Phone Photography

Profoto and travel/adventure photographer Austin Mann have teamed up to launch a new tutorial series focussing on phone photography.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of phone photography tutorials floating around on the web. But, with this announcement, we're seeing a major player in the professional photography space offering higher level education.

Profoto Enters the Phone Fray

As a supplier of top-tier lighting equipment, Profoto is perfectly placed to take advantage of the continuing rise of phone photography. There's no way that Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, or any of the other major camera manufactures are going to cannibalize their sales to highlight phone photography. Likewise, with phone photography still struggling to be recognized as a professional space, it's unlikely that the top-tier printer manufacturers are going to start giving phone photography pride of place when they're selling their paper and printers as aspirational products. Better to dream of an oversized print from a Hassey than an iPhone. 

Profoto, on the other hand, has little to lose. In fact, Profoto has an entire market to gain.

With the launch of their C1 and C1 Plus portable phone photography lights a few months ago, Profoto made it clear that they saw phone photography as a viable professional space. Say what you will about Instagram influencers, but the bottom line is that they buy aspirational products to take their aspirational shots to sell product or experience. Given their price tag, Profoto is an aspirational product.

So, here we have Profoto teaming up with two of its ambassadors, Austin Mann...

...and Miguel Jacob to help teach how lighting can work with phone photography.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4YgW-HALxz/  

Instagram is full of phone photographers showing off their images and clamoring for advertising dollars. Profoto is betting that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you're going to have to bring something new to the game. In this case, we're essentially repeating the rise of DSLRs and speedlights over medium format, but with phones and palm lights.

As Mann explains, 

The great thing about your smartphone as a camera is how nimble and agile it is.

The Rise of Phone Photography

Now, don't get me wrong, I still think that there is a long way to go. The larger sensors and internal algorithms of DSLRs and mirrorless still outshoot phones. But, a quick peruse of Mann's phone photography portfolio will show you that, in an age where digital consumption is king, the distance between the old and the new isn't very far at all. In fact, other than high speed sports, photojournalism, or long lens wildlife, I'm not sure I could tell the difference on a 1280 x 1280 image. And, let's be honest, this is where most of the advertising money seems to be headed these days.

Instead of pixel peeping, consumption is about emotion. Mann's photos certainly pack an emotional punch.

So, What is Profoto Offering?

As Profoto explains, 

Using light might not be the first thing that comes to mind when using your iPhone or other smartphone camera, but the truth is that light can really help you create better images. 

It's Profoto and Mann's intention to teach phone photographers how to employ light for taking portraits, lifestyle, and food images.

If phones are the cameras that you always have with you, Profoto wants Mann to convince you that with their C1 and C1 Plus you can always have their lights with you as well. Not a bad sales pitch for aspirational phone photography copy.

So now can throw light wherever I need it — I can put light in places where I couldn’t put a light before because it’s so much smaller. 

Over two tutorials set just outside Telluride, Colorado, Profoto and Mann will teach the basics of using light with a phone and delve into more advanced techniques using grids, gels, and more than one light setups. 

On top of that, Profoto is also offering personal feedback from fashion photographer Miguel Jacob. 

Where Do You Stand?

There has been some heated discussions in the comments about Profoto's C1 and their entry into the phone photography market. How do you feel about them upping the ante with higher level education?

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33 Comments

Alex Herbert's picture

= Profoto need some marketing assistance to help shift their overpriced shit.

Probably the only way Profoto (and this web site) is going to day alive.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Do you mean photography in general, photography related education, or something different?

Johnny Rico's picture

The shift in what they offer now vs 10 years ago is disappointing. At least my packs keep chugging along and used heads are cheap. The problem is they are chasing a market segment that will be dominated by Godox.

EDIT: oh wow, they are charging a damn steep price for those. They used to have one of the best/free blogs back when I was in Uni. Must have ran out of Pro's using there gear and offering to do BTS/blog posts. I do remember how it seemingly transitioned around when the b1's came out, the posts shifted to clearly paid marketing and we only care about one light editorial photographers.

Marius Pettersen's picture

Yes, it's interesting to observe how Profoto shifted from their market and Broncolor did not. I love my Profoto flash, but I come to respect Bron much more these days - if only their speed ring was as good as Profoto.

but in my experience bron also dominated the market for wealthy amateurs, lawyers, dentist who have 3 or more cars and a nice bron equipped studio - it's is even cheaper than the 4.th porsche gt. bron would drestroy this market if they went the profot way.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

I've talked to a lot of people in camera sales, for the most part, they're shy to admit, but, they will admit, that those lawyers and dentists are the ones that keep the industry afloat.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Speed ring can be a pain with some accessories if you don't use the brand regularly. But then, same mount will allow to use most recent to 30+ year old accessories.

Marius Pettersen's picture

I love backwards compatibility. Used Bron for a year or two in a studio with old and new monolights. Sure, the old monolights had long recycling time, but worked fine otherwise. Bron got amazing build quality in their softboxes, but I had to remove the monolight from the stand before I could attach, or remove, a large softbox. Exposed flash tube/halogen bulb and a dumb speed ring mad it risky otherwise.
I prefer Bowens S-type over it any day.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yep, load from the top after removing the head. But Bron has mostly been a head and pack manufacturer, which makes it a little easier. Those monos must have been pretty heavy, but I bet they can allow HyperSync to work without any alteration. The low end lines of packs can for the ones I have tried.

Marius Pettersen's picture

Yeah, heads are easier. The minipuls C200 (1500 Ws) was a beast!
I haven't tried any of the newer stuff. I guess they're a lot better in handling.

Alex Herbert's picture

They even offer 'certification' LOL

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

I wonder if the influencer segment will shy away from Godox because it's not aspirational enough(?).

Motti Bembaron's picture

I am sure many pro photographers bite the bullet (and their lips) and spend the extra dough for the same reason.

In the spirit of fstopper advertorials this article should be titled "10 Things The C1 Can Do that the Godox R1 can't do for less than 5x Price"

lol, $100-250 CAD to get the chance to get the opportunity to be a rubber stamped "Certified Image Creator". for the price this should come free with every c1. save $100-250 by reading the following: always shoot at dusk/indoors/night/in deep shade and never in any sort of bright light.

Motti Bembaron's picture

If that was published on April 1st I would think it to be a great joke. Unfortunately, it is not.

Is Profoto in the same deep waters as Nikon? This is sad when they have to stoop this low for revenue.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Not sure about their finance. I believe they are a private company so their finance is not published. I think they do fairly well but I also think they are going in the wrong direction.

Profoto has great gear but they are not as competitive anymore. The more great gear coming out of China the less relevant they become.

Godox is not the only one that is getting better and better, Adorama's Orlit (also a Chinese manufacturer) is excellent and their line gets high marks from users. There are others that provide excellent quality and value.

So it's not only Chinese own branded names but also gear made for private labels for major retailers like Adorama that is taking huge market share.

Godox was smart by coming out with a full range of lights from mini flashes for mirrorless cameras, flashlights for all major brands mini strobes and strobes. All triggered by the same system.

I think that if Alien Bees enter the market with their own all-in-one unit (battery, radio, TTL and HSS) and use one of those brand's radio system, they will do amazingly well too.

Due to baggage weight restrictions 2 Godox AD200 were the only option for my trip for a special trip to Asia. No way I could have taken my 2 B1 or B2 with 2 lights. Way too heavy and I would have had to put them in a photo roller case. I was able to fit 2 AD200, batteries, 2 Pro remotes, extra battery, 2 OCF speed rings, Godox to Profoto adapter, OCF Octa, 1'x3' OCF Strip, and 1.3x1.3 OCF softbox, and AD200 head extension/bulbs/snoots/bulb dish in small rollercase. I had Manfrotto nanopole tripods in checked baggage. These are excellent as you can remove the center stand to use as a boom for light or mic.

Godox also solved the issue of AC vs battery with their AD400.

I am using the AD200 everyday here and love the versatility and portability. I still can't get the TTL to work as consistent with Sony a7riv and a9 as I did with Profoto using Nikon but it might be a Sony flash issue.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Other Sony users are also complaining about the TTL with Godox. I hardly use TTL with my AD200's (Nikon user) but when I did the results were excellent.

I am mainly a daycare photographer and I can shoot 1,500-3,000 photos in one morning. I really stretch the 200's capability, they are not really built for rapid photography. Yet, they have been performing amazingly well for the past five years.

Many of the photos I take in daycares are one after the other to capture the expressions. The flashes do miss every now and then -the capacitor is not built for rapid shooting- but overall I am really impressed. Also, the battery life is amazing. It's rare that I need to change batteries (I am on 1/8 power most of the time).

I am thinking of getting either the AD400's or AD600's but I carry so much as it is (props, backgrounds, lights etc.) that I cannot see myself carrying more.

Spy Black's picture

If you go to Home Depot you can pick up any number of bright LED lights for peanuts. For around $30-50 you can have a 3-light rig.

Alex Herbert's picture

I've not tried Home Depot lights (nor could I as I live in the UK and we don't have it here). But I'm guessing their CRI would be pretty low. Consumer lights for home use tend not to be very accurate.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

I really feel that this is where Profoto and Bron trump the competition. I've seen the "experiments" run by various photographers, but, in every anecdotal experience I've had, Profoto and Bron fire the same again and again and again. Nobody, most of all Godox or constant work lights do the same.

Motti Bembaron's picture

According to quite a few Youtubers Godox LED lights are absolutely awesome. Their earlier version was not as good but the new SL-60W and the SL-150W do a great job apparently.

But if you talk about strobes, Godox absolutely fires accurately again and again.

Alex Herbert's picture

Godox now do a 'Pro' version of all of their strobes with a higher CRI and more consistency across the power range. I can't honestly say I've ever noticed a difference between shots, but maybe for the level of work I do it doesn't really matter. Which begs the question, how many Bron or Profoto customers are working to a level where all that actually matters...

Alex Herbert's picture

BTW, the Home Depot lights mentioned by Spy Black are not for photography at all, they're standard lighting fixtures for home lighting use.

Spy Black's picture

Yeah, so what? Color is easy to fix, and white balancing takes you most of the way home. The CRI hype is mostly bullshit to sell products. Light and shadow are paramount. I suspect I can grab better shots with those Home Depot lights than a lot of guys do with megabuck rigs...

...and remember, we're talking about cellphone photography here... ;-)

Alex Herbert's picture

Ok, well I don't take photos with my phone, so hey... whatever.

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